Thursday, October 25, 2007

C-17 Crews Make Record Airdrop

Two C-17 air crews completed a record airdrop, simultaneously dropping supply loads in Afghanistan.

17 October 2007
By Staff Sgt. Trevor Tiernan
U.S. Central Command Air Force Combat Correspondent Team.

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Oct. 17, 2007 — Two U.S. Air Force C-17 crews recently completed a mission for the history books with one of the largest single airdrops in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began.

“What sets this mission apart from previous ones is this is the first time we’ve used two aircraft to drop simultaneously on the same drop zone in the AOR (area of responsibility),” said Tech. Sgt. Marvin Mosley, a loadmaster on the Oct. 11, 2007, mission.

It also was the first time in combat that cargo has been air-dropped in a formation scenario. The two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron dropped more than 60 bundles of cargo, weighing more than 85,000 pounds, over the Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Robinson, Air Mobility Division chief, Combined Air and Space Operations Center, said the drop contained supplies needed to operate through the winter, said. Poor road conditions leading to the forward operating base and force protection concerns drove the decision to make an airdrop, Robinson said. “Airdrop[s] could deliver all the supplies in two to three minutes using the C-17s and minimize [coalition forces’] exposure on the ground and in the air,” said Robinson.

The crews flew from Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, to pick up the cargo at Bagram Airfield before heading to the drop zone. Air Force Capt. Ryan Orfe, one of the pilots on the mission, said the airdrop not only got the needed supplies to the troops well ahead of harsh winter weather, but also helped keep convoy drivers out of harm’s way.

“Hopefully we’re doing good and taking convoys off the road,” said Orfe. “That seems to be where a lot of the attacks on our troops come from. The more we can keep [the convoys] off the road, while at the same time keeping ourselves safe flying at higher altitudes … it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Photo- A second Air Force C-17 Globemaster drops Combat Delivery System bundles just a few hundred feet above another set floating down to coalition soldiers waiting below, Oct. 11, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare.

Source: DefendAmerica.mil. Digg! Digg.

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